Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the
defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later
honored with the title Ataturk, or "Father of the Turks." Under his
authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and
political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with
multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition
Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish
political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods
of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each
case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the
military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern
coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily
on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since
acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only
Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan
Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or
Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and
claimed more than 30,000 lives, but after the capture of the group's leader in
1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey, mainly to northern Iraq.
In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the
KGK increased. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member
of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European
Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to
strengthen its democracy and economy, enabling it to begin accession
membership talks with the European Union.

Population: 69,660,559

southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of
the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea,
between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the
Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria

Map references:   
Middle East

Total Area: 780,580 sq km
Land Area: 770,760 sq km
Comparative Area: slightly larger than Texas


National holiday:   
Republic Day, 29 October (1923)

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